Brewing Success: How Your Coffee Habits Impact Diabetes Management

Brewing Success: How Your Coffee Habits Impact Diabetes Management

Whitney Stuart, RDN

By Whitney Stuart, MS RDN/LD CDE

Whitney Stuart is a registered dietitian-nutritionist, board-certified diabetic Educator and CEO of Whitness Nutrition. Whitney’s nutritional expertise has been featured in media segments for ABC, NBC & Business Insider. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and has been Voted Dallas #1 Dietitian since 2019. Her virtual practice, Whitness Nutrition, focuses on nutrition education and empowerment, with an emphasis on real food for real joy and blood sugar bliss.

Hey there, coffee lovers! My name is Whitney Stuart, and I'm thrilled to be your guest dietitian and diabetes educator  today, sharing some java-licious insights about the fascinating relationship between coffee habits and diabetes management. You are in for a treat if you are currently sipping that cup of liquid gold—and not just because we are discussing coffee. But let's get one thing straight: not all coffees are created equal, and we're diving into the benefits of clean, organic coffee for blood sugar management.

Coffee: A Lifeline for Many

Raise your hand if coffee is a non-negotiable part of your daily routine; hopefully after some breakfast and sunshine, that is. As a diabetes educator, I've noticed that many of my patients, like you, rely on the energizing power of a good cup of joe to kick-start their day. But how does coffee affect those with diabetes? Is it a friend or foe?

The answer? It depends, and a lot of it boils down to the type of coffee you're brewing and what you add to it.

The Magic of Clean, Organic Coffee

Not all coffees are created equal. Just as the coffee bean's journey from farm to cup can be a complex one, so too can its impact on your health. For people managing diabetes, opting for clean, organic coffee can be a game-changer. Here's why:

1. Reduced Inflammation

Coffee is packed with antioxidants, like polyphenols, which are naturally occurring molecules that fight against harmful free radicals in the body. These harmful free radicals are what contribute to inflammation, amongst other factors like toxins, poor diet, and disease, such as diabetes. Decreasing your exposure to known contributors to inflammation is one way to prevent the onset of diabetes. Switching from non-organic to organic coffee is one way you can do this. Organic coffee is typically grown without synthetic pesticides and chemicals, making it less likely to trigger inflammation in your body. Purity Coffee specifically utilizes beans that do not contain toxins, such as Ochratoxin A, that can cause a histamine-like reaction. Fewer inflammatory responses mean better blood sugar control and better overall health.

2. Balanced Blood Sugar Levels

Caffeine, a key player in coffee, can temporarily spike your blood sugar. But if you choose pure organic coffee, your blood sugar will rise more slowly than if you drink coffee that is full of artificial ingredients. This steadier increase is more manageable for those with diabetes, helping to prevent blood sugar roller coasters. Secondly, keep in mind what you’re adding to your cup. Not only does the quality of the coffee itself impact your blood sugar, but so does what you put in it. Are you adding a sugar-laden creamer that makes your morning cup more like dessert? If so, consider swapping that for half-and-half or plant-based milk like coconut or almond milk. Another option is adding collagen to your coffee—an easy way to get an additional protein boost in the morning!

3. Improved Insulin Sensitivity

One of the main focuses of my practice and what I emphasize to my patient population is the importance of making lifestyle changes that improve insulin sensitivity. Believe it or not, that daily cup of coffee also impacts it! Research suggests that organic coffee may improve insulin sensitivity, which is music to the ears of anyone who is managing diabetes and doesn’t want to get rid of their daily drip. With enhanced insulin sensitivity, your body can use insulin more effectively, improving blood sugar control.

In a nutshell, switching to organic coffee could have a significant impact on your health, which means that you can enjoy your coffee consumption without sacrificing your health.

Dirty Coffee: The Sneaky Saboteur

While I’ve raved about the benefits of clean, organic coffee, it's crucial to address the less virtuous side of the brew: “dirty” coffee. This dark, dirty side of the coffee world is full of additives, sweeteners, and artificial flavorings. Most people should avoid these types of coffee, but especially those who have diabetes or insulin resistance.

1. Blood Sugar Spikes

Flavored syrups, sugar-laden creamers, and whipped cream toppings can turn your innocent coffee into a sugary concoction that sends your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride. Unbalanced blood sugar is no way to start your day. First comes the blood sugar spike…then comes the crash, sending you down a path of lonely carb consumption—or more cups of coffee—because that crash left you lethargic. It’s a very toxic cycle, pun intended! Stick with clean coffee creamers, organic half-and-half, or almond milk, and pair it with a meal for #bloodsugarbliss. Starting your day with more balanced blood sugar also helps with your mood, ability to focus, and energy levels. Save the sugar for something more meaningful, like social sweets!

2. Insulin Resistance

Artificial additives, like syrups, sweeteners and sugary toppings in 'dirty' coffee, can contribute to insulin resistance, making it harder for your body to manage blood sugar effectively. If you're a fan of frothy coffeehouse creations, be mindful of the ingredients used. Make the switch from whipped cream to a splash of organic heavy cream in your coffee if you want something a little more indulgent. Not only will this decrease the sugar content of your drink, but the fat in the heavy cream will make your drink taste a little more decadent and help with satiety when paired with a protein-rich breakfast. Pairing coffee with protein, fat and fiber helps prevent your blood sugar from spiking too much, too quickly.

When those sugary drinks are enjoyed frequently and without proper balance, it leaves a window of opportunity for insulin resistance to sneak in. Insulin resistance is when your body doesn’t respond as effectively to the insulin it produces. This, over time, can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Avoiding or limiting super-sugary drinks and pairing them with a protein-rich meal when you do want to enjoy one is crucial to helping to prevent insulin resistance.

3. Empty Calories

Don't underestimate the calories hidden in your daily coffee order. Excessive calories from your daily coffee treats can contribute to weight gain, a significant risk factor for diabetes. Stick to black coffee or opt for healthier alternatives. Choosing something like an Americano with a splash of coconut milk or an iced coffee with almond milk can help to ensure a large portion of your calories aren’t coming from an over-sweetened, dessertified drink.

How to Brew the Perfect Cup for Blood Sugar Bliss

Now that we've explored the coffee battlefield, let's talk about how you can enjoy your coffee while achieving balanced blood sugar.

First, Go Clean and Organic

Seek out clean, organic coffee beans from trustworthy sources. I choose to drink Purity because of their high standards. They start with certified USDA organic, hand-picked specialty beans that are sourced from mold-free environments and farmed using sustainable practices. Purity Coffee® is 100% free of toxic chemicals, which can contribute to inflammation in the body. Even with organic coffee, please mind your portion size and enjoy your coffee in moderation. While coffee is fine in moderation, excessive consumption can affect blood sugar levels.

Second, Skip the Sugar Bombs

Avoid the temptation of sugary syrups and creamers. Opt for natural sweeteners like stevia or a touch of cinnamon for flavor. Using half-and-half or milk alternatives, like almond milk, to better support steady blood sugar is key. Your taste buds will downgrade and adjust to the flavor of real food if you let them! You’ll save yourself the risk of insulin resistance as well. Sugar alcohols are sweeter (Splenda 600x, Equal 200x) than regular sugar and naturally occurring fructose.

Of course, enjoying your favorite seasonal coffee drink (hello, peppermint mocha and PSL!) is okay. I’m all about fitting all of your favorite things into your life. Just do it mindfully.

  • Start small and opt for 1 pump or a small sprinkle of spice
  • Pair your coffee with fat and fiber, like celery and hummus or hard-boiled eggs
  • Move your body, grab a girlfriend to get an Americano, & lace up your sneakers!
  • Drink more coffee at home! You can control the amounts of sweeteners and syrups that are added

Third, Stay Hydrated

Balance coffee consumption with plenty of water to stay well-hydrated. Caffeine has a natural diuretic effect, making hydration all the more important. Dehydration can affect your blood sugar levels. Simply put, the less hydrated you are, the more concentrated your blood becomes with glucose, and your blood sugar rises. This is not healthy for any individual, but is especially imperative to avoid for someone with diabetes. Drink your water, limit your caffeine intake, and add in some electrolytes.

Pair It with a Balanced Meal

Coffee alone isn't a meal, which is a habit I have to help many of my patients break. If you rely on a cup of coffee to break your fast, you better think twice! Your morning cup needs to be consumed with food, specifically something with protein and fat. Pair it with a balanced, protein-packed breakfast; bonus if you've had some water and movement beforehand. This combination helps stabilize your blood sugar and helps to prevent that caffeine crash that no doubt has you reaching for the office donut in hopes of finding energy from lonely carbs.

Brewing it all Together

In the world of diabetes management and blood sugar regulation, every little choice counts. Coffee, one of the most beloved beverages worldwide, can be both a friend and a foe for those managing diabetes. The key is to make informed choices about the coffee you consume and make simple swaps for what you may be adding to your morning cup.

Clean, organic coffee that is free from additives and artificial ingredients can be a valuable asset and a simple place to start in your journey towards better blood sugar control. Because of the high standards of Purity Coffee and their motto of brewing for health, their beans offer benefits such as reduced inflammation, lower toxin exposure and better blood sugar balance than conventional coffee found in your local store. Another benefit of using clean and organic coffee is improved insulin sensitivity, which is essential for diabetes management as well as the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

On the other hand, “dirty” coffee, loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings, can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and increase insulin resistance. Be mindful of what you add to your brew.

By following some simple guidelines and choosing the right coffee, you can continue to savor your favorite beverage while prioritizing your health. Coffee can be an ally in your diabetes management journey, so drink up and enjoy the perks of a clean, organic cup of joe!

So there you have it, coffee enthusiasts—a caffeine-fueled exploration of the coffee and blood sugar connection. In pursuing better health, consider making the change to a clean organic coffee that will support your well-being! It's time to raise a mug to better health and brighter mornings with that clean, organic coffee in hand—after a protein-rich breakfast, of course.

Interested in working with a Registered Dietitian? Click here  to schedule a call with Whitney and learn more about how to improve your blood sugar!


  • Brianna Strong

    The best coffee

  • John A Charles


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